The elevators are massive natural shafts that reach deep into the planet, excavated by the fairy The People so that shuttle ports could be built at both ends worldwide. Every so often, they will give off flares.Flares are columns of magma that shoot most of the way up the shafts (but not actually reaching the surface).
The LEP Tech division made the most of these.They created the Titanium Pods that could ride on the magma flows. These became a common way for the LEP to get between the surface and the Lower Elements, although by the time of the books, civilian shuttles were in common use. Presumably, the shuttles do not ride on the actual magma flows, as they apparently travel at speeds of over Mach 2, which would not be particularly comfortable for the passengers in the pods.
Some of the pods are known to have been in the chutes (slang for the elevators) for over half a century.
Chutes are interconnected via a series of service tunnels, large enough in diameter for a small craft to fly through.
As human technology grew more sophisticated, many of these stations had to be destroyed or abandoned.
For example, E37 was closed due to the increased population in Paris. E93 was closed due to high levels of radiation, which is far more toxic to The People than to Humans. According to the The Arctic Incident, The People were glad to leave this particular chute as they have a general dislike the cold. When chutes are closed they are often sealed by a team of LEP dwarfs, although these seals can be broken with explosives
Most chutes are equipped with several facilities similar to a human airport, possessing check-in desks as well as passport control areas. Several chutes also have hanger facilities which make use of an electromagnetic rail to deposit craft into the chute itself. During a flare the chute is separated from the rest of the terminal by a large metallic door. This is more to protect the terminal from the hot air than the magma which rarely leaves the chute.
Passengers using the chutes are legally obliged to have a visa for traveling to the surface.(However these are hard to come by, with a waiting list reaching three years.)
List of Known Chutes
- E7 - Martina Franca, Italy
- E18 - Stonehenge, UK
- E37 - Paris, France
- E77 - Wajir, Kenya
- E93 - Rosta district, north of Murmansk, Russia
- E116 - South of Los Angeles, USA
- an uncharted chute below Koboi Laboratories
- an uncharted chute in southern Italy, near E7